Bosque del Apache and Beyond
The day started out amazing with thousands of geese flying in the deep orange sky, but of course I missed the photo op because of the gawking I was doing.
We drove directly to the Flight Deck where we enjoyed early morning views of the cranes and a pair of bald eagles. Not to mention numerous birders.
Then we began the driving tour (did I mention it was COLD?) and were entertained by numerous Red-tailed Hawks, Sparrows, Juncos, hundreds of Pintail Ducks, Green-winged Teal, Juv Bald Eagle, Bufflehead and a passel of Bushtits.
We arrived at the Farm Deck to thousands of Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and Ross's Geese, plus Vesper Sparrows, Meadowlarks.
Like this family of Snow Geese.
And this family of Sandhills.
And this family of Blue Snow Geese. (So beautiful!)
We stayed nearly 4 hours enjoying the spectacle, and for me to practice my birds-in-flight photography.
I obviously need much more practice.
Then we visited the awesome Gift Shop and Store there and headed out our way to Tucson via Silver City.
We chased it for a bit, watching it rustle around just out of sight, but it finally revealed itself; Rufous-crowned Sparrow! Lifer! It was very fun to follow and ID this bird out in the middle of absolute nowhere in southeastern New Mexico. Upon further research after returning home, I learned that I had seen this bird in 1984 in Arizona when I lived there. Long enough ago to recount as a lifer, don'tcha think?
We motored on into a little town called Hillsboro where I saw a bird swoop by as we were driving, which turned out to be a Ladder-backed Woodpecker, a lifer for both! We got out and walked around adding another Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Phainopepla pair - lifers for Lauren, YB Sapsucker and Downy Woodpecker.
Quite a nice interlude to break up a long drive.
Winding our way out of Hillsboro, we startled a flock of Wild Turkey.
We stopped at the AZ NM state line. Last bird of New Mexico was our own Colorado State Bird; Lark Buntings. First Bird of Arizona? Lark Buntings!! Then we stopped at a rest area and saw Says Phoebe, YR warblers, White-crowned Sparrows, Brewer's Sparrow and YH Blackbird. We hit Tucson by a little after 7 and enjoyed Lauren's 55th birthday dinner and bed! What a completely fabulous day. What would we find tomorrow in Tucson?